A 9-year-old Southern California boy is set to scale the highest peak this side of the globe to raise awareness for a type of muscular dystrophy that only affects young boys. Vikki Vargas reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Nov. 29, 2013.
A 9-year-old Southern California boy is set to scale the highest peak this side of the globe to raise awareness for a type of muscular dystrophy that only affects young boys.
Scaling Argentina’s 22,000-foot Mount Aconcagua is Tyler Armstrong’s “newly accepted challenge.”
The peak – the highest in both the Western and Southern Hemispheres – will be added to an already impressive list of summits the fourth grader from Yorba Linda has reached.
At age 7, Armstrong climbed 14,505 feet up Mount Whitney, the highest summit in the contiguous United States.
Last year, he scaled Mount Kilamanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world at 19,341 feet. He had to apply for a special permit for that trek because, at age 9, he was a year younger than the age limit.
“It felt really great. Not many kids have done it so, I was amazed I could do it,” Armstrong said.
Now, the young climber has his sights set on an even taller peak: the 22,837-foot-tall Mount Aconcagua in Argentina. Temperatures along the route could drop to 20 degrees below zero.
If he summits, Armstrong will become the youngest person to climb that towering peak (the record is now held by a 10-year-old climber), according to Armstrong's website.
Armstrong and his father will set out on their 14-day hike next week, and the trek is dedicated to those who can’t walk. He’s raising money for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which affects 1 in 3,600 boys.
“It’s when muscles get smaller every time you use them and by 14 they can’t walk,” Armstrong said of those afflicted with the disease.
The pinnacle that awaits the Armstrongs is just below the elevation where oxygen is mandatory.
“The doctors and climbers say he could get altitude sickness,” father Kevin Armstrong said. “I do, but for some reason, he doesn’t. It’s on easier on him.”
That could be because Tyler Armstrong works out twice a day building his fourth-grade abs of steel. Or because he’d trade his PlayStation for cramp-ons and an ice pick.
Tyler’s family said as long as he’s safe and healthy, they won’t hold him back from reaching the summit.
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